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Confused at a change of heart, don't know how to proceed


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A long post, as I feel the details matter. Thank you for reading.

I met a girl at work mid-November, and there was an instant bond and a strange connection (interests, past experiences, worldviews, past relationships, etc). She takes initiative, and in no time we are texting all the time, sharing our daily lives, having nicknames for each other, etc. All good.

Mid-Dec - she suggests we meet outside work. So we go to dinner, have a walk afterwards, all great, I say it feels like more than friendship, and she says she feels the same, but we should let things take their own course (give it time, in other words).

A few days later, I cook her dinner at my place, she meets my family, brilliant. nothing physical though. She says we should repeat when she comes back from her trip ( with her best girl friend to her gf's family). We stay in touch while there, have a video call, she sends photos, all good...

Last week, she comes back, immediately ask if I want to go to the office with her, but then some distance at work begins... and it remains throughout both days we are at work. Still, I find some chance to ask if we should go somewhere for the weekend, she eagerly says yes. I sense something is not right, but that's good, I am encouraged.

I call her last saturday, long story short, the day ends with our phone talk that she always saw it as friendship, that she feels totally confused, unready to open herself to anyone, and that she felt as if she was drowning when I told her how I felt about her (that was after she declined the dinner invitation, and told me it was friendship) as she is unable to deal with her or other people's emotion.

Still, we meet a couple of days later, as I had a small gift for her. The gift was received with absolute joy, and acknowledgement it was special, she said she loved me from the start, but something was not triggered in her to consider a relationship with me.

THINGS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT:

She is 27yo, had two long relationships, both ended with her being cheated on and humiliated.

Generally were reserved with her emotions, afraid and unable to express them, even in relationships

Due to her partner cheating on her, she has a mental issue where she connects sex with the image of her partner cheating on her (that happened a year ago). Has not been intimate with anyone in the past year.

I initially said I couldn't be friend with her, not because of the ego but as I would find it difficult given the strength of my feelings. She proposed we remain in touch, keep going to work together, and be friends... In the meantime, I decided it was selfish and counter-productive to simply disappear from her life and in the past five days I have invited her and a few other colleagues for a little sit down party at my place next week, signalling I am staying in her life, in town (it was supposed to a temporary arrangement anyway), at work, etc.

TL;DR

What do you guys think I should do from here and does it even sound probable that she indeed saw it as friendship? Do I take it slow, allow time and patience, especially as she now knows exactly how I feel? It seems to me she either got scared, had a change of heart, is buying time. I wouldn't mind accepting or considering there is someone else, but from everything she told me, relationship is the last thign on her mind right now.

THANK YOU.

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Before I respond in detail I am so confused as to why you would tell her on your first date: 

So we go to dinner, have a walk afterwards, all great, I say it feels like more than friendship, and she says she feels the same, but we should let things take their own course (give it time, in other words).

I mean you told her right off the bat you didn't feel an attraction to her so why should she invest any emotion/vulnerability into getting to know you?

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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

Before I respond in detail I am so confused as to why you would tell her on your first date: 

So we go to dinner, have a walk afterwards, all great, I say it feels like more than friendship, and she says she feels the same, but we should let things take their own course (give it time, in other words).

I mean you told her right off the bat you didn't feel an attraction to her so why should she invest any emotion/vulnerability into getting to know you?

Hi Batya, thanks for responding. I wasn't clear obviously. It was her who said we should let things take their own course. I actually took initiative and told her I felt it was more than friendship. It went like this:

ME: It feels like this is more than friendship.

SHE: You just made a beautiful evening awkward (laughs). But I think the same. But we should let things take their own course. (i.e. not rush, not force, etc.)

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, RSSR said:

Hi Batya, thanks for responding. I wasn't clear obviously. It was her who said we should let things take their own course. I actually took initiative and told her I felt it was more than friendship. It went like this:

ME: It feels like this is more than friendship.

SHE: You just made a beautiful evening awkward (laughs). But I think the same. But we should let things take their own course. (i.e. not rush, not force, etc.)

 

 

 

Oh sorry!!! I read wrong! I'd discount all the blah blah psychobabble about not having emotions for anyone etc.  She's just not that into you and I'm sorry.  I actually think it's not good to lead with all the texting/chat buddy stuff if you think you might want to date someone -get to know them in person doing date like activities - save the texting like that for months in when you're an established romantic couple.  Be a bit of a mystery, layers to be unwrapped, getting to know each other at a reasonable pace over time.  

I wouldn't give her the benefit of your friendship. She may not be available for a relationship with anyone but since you might hear through the grapevine about who she is dating I'd avoid being her friend unless you are ok with her suddenly being ready to date...someone else.  I think either she  thought about things on vacation and realized she shouldn't lead you on anymore and/or she met someone or saw someone who sparked her and realized she wasn't that into you.

I'm sorry.  

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She told me it was at the office after her trip that she realized where things were headed, and started to panic, and decided to set boundaries. Generally, I'd also discount all the phychoanalysis also, but it genuinely feels she has emotional issues and wounds. Also, having 2 relationships all her life (aged 27) and no ONS or friends with benefits stuff suggests there is some issue there, or at least a huge hesitance to start the relationship.

Mystery is part of all my success stories. Here I thought she is a bit different, and it would be a long drawn conquest anyway, I thought I should be open, present and go through the friendship/colleague route as it obviously wasn't going to be done quickly. I have had success stories doing that as well in the past, but this has surprised me 100%.

Thanks anyway.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, RSSR said:

What do you guys think I should do from here and does it even sound probable that she indeed saw it as friendship?

Well, she told you that right off the bat...

17 minutes ago, RSSR said:

she says she feels the same, but we should let things take their own course (give it time, in other words)

Everything after "but" is the real truth. That means she doesnt feel the same.

18 minutes ago, RSSR said:

Do I take it slow, allow time and patience, especially as she now knows exactly how I feel?

Heck no. There is nothing to take it slow. You are friendzoned. She see you as her brother not as a boyfriend. And that thing almost never changes. You are fighting a losing battle. And instead of just letting it go and have nothing to do with that woman, you still orbit around her and doing gifts. Stop that. She wont be with you if you try more,  you are just howing her that you have no respect toward yourself by sticking around.

21 minutes ago, RSSR said:

It seems to me she either got scared, had a change of heart, is buying time.

She maybe met somebody on vacation. Or maybe her friend said something about you. But in any case it doesnt matter, she doesnt see you as a dating prospect.

22 minutes ago, RSSR said:

I wouldn't mind accepting or considering there is someone else, but from everything she told me, relationship is the last thign on her mind right now.

Then why are you asking her to be in one? You should run away from her, not toward her. 

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3 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

Everything after "but" is the real truth. That means she doesnt feel the same.

27 minutes ago, RSSR said:

I forgot to mention that at the restaurant it was her who starting talking about the nature of our relationship. She said it was a strange relationship, but we should try and live with it. I said nothing to provoke those words.

 

4 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

Then why are you asking her to be in one? You should run away from her, not toward her. 

To be fair, my only move which she didn't clearly provoke was to ask her out after her return from the trip. EVERYTHING else - it was her. The first dinner, the texting, the visit to my home, meeting my family. All her.

 

5 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

Heck no. There is nothing to take it slow. You are friendzoned. She see you as her brother not as a boyfriend. And that thing almost never changes. You are fighting a losing battle. And instead of just letting it go and have nothing to do with that woman, you still orbit around her and doing gifts. Stop that. She wont be with you if you try more,  you are just howing her that you have no respect toward yourself by sticking around.

I know of numerous examples such as this which ended with marriage. Seriously. There are more of those which ended in heartbreak, surely, but I wouldn't just give up just yet. As for the present, I told her I had something for her, and as we are likely to distance ourselves from each other, she should have it, as I didn't feel like giving it to someone else or throwing it away.

 

I mean, listen, I get it - you have said what you think, and it's reasonable, but I just feel there are things to consider before quitting.

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10 minutes ago, RSSR said:

Also, having 2 relationships all her life (aged 27) and no ONS or friends with benefits stuff suggests there is some issue there, or at least a huge hesitance to start the relationship.

I don't relate to this at all - she had 2 serious relationships in her 20s and chose apparently not to have ONS or sexual arrangements - which simply could be because her personal values and standards aren't consistent with having sex outside of a serious relationship.  I'd accept that she is just not that into you and move on -whether it's because she's not into you or not into anyone.  

I originally met my husband at work.  I know of no healthy relationships that involved one person telling the other they were not that into them and then being convinced by the other person to continue -if they did they were settling.

I do know of situations where people get back together years later because years later they reconnect, realize they have each changed, realize they feel a strong spark and both desire to see where it leads and do so by exclusively dating and being on the exact same page with neither having to win the other over. 

That would be my story.  Had we gotten back together a month later (as I wanted to -he said no) we would not be married now.  I'd have been into it at first -the excitement of getting back together but in that short span of time nothing would have changed. 

Similarly, had we stayed in close contact in our almost 8 years apart we wouldn't have gotten back together.  We were in very limited contact during that time and mostly of an impersonal nature. 

The more you pursue her now the more turned off she will be.  If she agrees to accept your gifts and invitations it will be because why not, or because other people are there she wants to hang with too -not because she is enthusiastic about getting potentially serious with you.  Never settle for less than enthusiastic.  

(Oh and in the best of all worlds a relationship doesn't "end in marriage" -marriage is a whole new beginning IMO and I hope you find the right person -much better chance of that if you move on quickly from your lukewarm "friend")

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13 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I know of no healthy relationships that involved one person telling the other they were not that into them and then being convinced by the other person to continue -if they did they were settling.

There will be no convincing from my side, and sure if I keep pushing and hanging around it will be a turn off. My intention is - OK, let's do the party, where I show I am keeping around, then I distance myself to an extent. OK, we work together, but I will not be going the same days, and if I do, I will behave in such a way that she never thinks we are friends like we were at the start. I know it's incredibly hard to come back from the friendzone, but from everything and her behaviour - we were not friends, she just chose not to pursue what we started, i.e. she changed her mind, and she might change it again. 

As for the party - she is coming because she likes to spend time with me, I assure you. Other people are completely irrelevant. She isn't prepared to spend time with me alone, and that's fine for now. Other people only serve the purpose of us being comfortable in each other's company after the turbulence.

Your life experience is obviously much greater than mine, but discounting all the positives and complications in this story and totally dismissing all of it... I am not sure.

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My opinion is she's not that into you and your attempts to continue to be her "friend" are dishonest since you want more and she does not as she told you.  There is no turbulence -she stated she is not into you romantically.  Turbulence would be you dismissing what she told you and inviting her to things and keeping in contact with the hope that she'll change her mind -that risks turbulence in your interactions since you don't want to be her friend -friends talk about who they're dating or want to date -do you want to hear about who she wants to date when she meets someone where she's motivated to choose that person over any fears or concerns she may or may not have?  Hope you have a strong stomach.  

You're being self-absorbed and assuming that having chaperones there will make her more comfortable and she'll see how awesome and fun you are when hosting a gathering.  

When two people want to be together and are single and available to be together- they make it work.  They deal with their "fears" or hesitancy typically on their own because why in the world would they sabotage a growing relationship by treating the other person like a therapist? They choose being with the person they feel a spark with, potential with -over fear. 

You bet I was fearful of trying again with my future husband -who in the world wants to go through another failed engagement and heartache??- I hesitated for 30-60 seconds when he asked me to get back together -and I said YES.  Sure I looked flustered when he first asked but my overwhelming desire to be with him and try again - that won over fear.  Why in the world would you settle for less? Do you like dating people or projects?

But there's nothing wrong in inviting her out and hanging with her -it's a free country.  Your risk to take.  Your time to spend as you see fit.  I have no need to be "right."  Good luck!

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22 minutes ago, RSSR said:

I know of numerous examples such as this which ended with marriage. Seriously. There are more of those which ended in heartbreak, surely, but I wouldn't just give up just yet.

Just because some other people pestered their SO until they gave up and started to be with them, doesnt mean you should do it. My friends uncle was left at the altar, gone to the bar, met the waitress and married her on the spot. That doesnt mean its something that should be done. 

You are suppose to be with people who actually want to be with you. She clearly doesnt. She just wants friendship. That is everything you need to know there to move on.

28 minutes ago, RSSR said:

I mean, listen, I get it - you have said what you think, and it's reasonable, but I just feel there are things to consider before quitting.

There are no things to consider. You got your answer and now its up to you to move away from the situation, and find another crush that would actually want to be with you. That is reasonable. What you are doing is opposite of that and will only result in your pain.

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3 minutes ago, spinstermanquee said:

Sounds like "slow your roll" to me... she may be breadcrumbing you to keep you on the back burner while she explores other options

Doesn't sound great, but at least someone has noticed she at one point admitted to having more than friendly feelings towards me.

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14 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

You bet I was fearful of trying again with my future husband -who in the world wants to go through another failed engagement and heartache??- I hesitated for 30-60 seconds when he asked me to get back together -and I said YES.  Sure I looked flustered when he first asked but my overwhelming desire to be with him and try again - that won over fear.  Why in the world would you settle for less? Do you like dating people or projects?

Now imagine if you asked the question on this forum: should I try again after all the mess and heartache. How many positive answers would you get? Thank you, but I can't help but notice all your viewpoints on the past dozens of topics are negative. Such is the nature of the forum, but still... 

Thanks anyway!

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1 minute ago, RSSR said:

Doesn't sound great, but at least someone has noticed she at one point admitted to having more than friendly feelings towards me.

Yes and there will be others who notice stuff and make comments like that and none of it is relevant since she was honest with you she's not into you that way.  I received great, good and mediocre and bad advice about relationships, dating, men etc over my many years of dating - some of which I asked for and some I did not.  I was advised to settle, to ask a man out because he was "too shy" but interested, to stop looking and "let love find me," and to decline dates with a man who cancelled because it was raining (this from my momma -and she was right!).  There was once a coworker who flirted with me outrageously all the time at work so I asked him to lunch.  He agreed, at the lunch he was shy and awkward and - surprise surprise -mentioned his girlfriend.  

With the right person you don't have to gossip with coworkers, read into signs, etc - it will be simple and direct.  Relationships themselves can get really complicated but starting off with someone who's not that into you is asking for trouble and pain.  Again it's a free country - she's happy to hang with you, perhaps keep you around for flattery or as her backup plan, or for whatever reason and if you have that sort of time to waste I mean spend and if you enjoy the thrill of the chase---she's your gal!

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1 minute ago, RSSR said:

Now imagine if you asked the question on this forum: should I try again after all the mess and heartache. How many positive answers would you get? Thank you, but I can't help but notice all your viewpoints on the past dozens of topics are negative. Such is the nature of the forum, but still... 

Thanks anyway!

Oh that's not in the least bit true.  No need to thank me -you want to be told to keep chasing after her.  

Keep chasing after her -like I said it's a free country - unless she tells you to leave her alone have at it!

I actually think it's extremely positive what I'm telling you -I'm suggesting you free yourself from this situation so you can positively pursue someone who wants to date you properly.  And reduce the risk of getting jaded about women who "use" you.  It's really positive to move on quickly and open yourself up to a multitude of opportunities.  It would be negative of me to tell you oh she really likes you she's just scared - never give up! Because I'd be suggesting you put your life on hold.  That's negative.  If she wants to be with you in the future she knows where to find you and that will not happen if you act like a doormat letting her have the benefit of your friendship and invitations.  IMHO.  

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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

With the right person you don't have to gossip with coworkers, read into signs, etc - it will be simple and direct.  Relationships themselves can get really complicated but starting off with someone who's not that into you is asking for trouble and pain

We are going round in circles, and sure - as things stand, you are correct, and I am the fool. However, all the signals she was giving until a week ago were she was very much into me. Then she backed off. If you fail to see there is something there that's not quite simple, and if you take her excuse for granted - well, I simply can't agree. I acknowledge I am emotionally invested and subjective, but come on - she is a nice girl by all accounts, what's she doing coming to my home at her initiative and telling me it's more than friendship?

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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

If she wants to be with you in the future she knows where to find you and that will not happen if you act like a doormat letting her have the benefit of your friendship and invitations. 

I agree 100%. But just disappearing shows I am weak and wasn't that serious about it after all. I feel there has to be a balance.

OK, negative... your advice is positive in the sense we should free oursleves from all potential problems and struggle, and play the field. OK, that's easy. bBut all your views on the problematic situations say: don't pursue it. here and in other threads.

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24 minutes ago, RSSR said:

I agree 100%. But just disappearing shows I am weak and wasn't that serious about it after all. I feel there has to be a balance.

OK, negative... your advice is positive in the sense we should free oursleves from all potential problems and struggle, and play the field. OK, that's easy. bBut all your views on the problematic situations say: don't pursue it. here and in other threads.

I don’t think people should pursue people who are not interested in being with them for whatever reason especially where it’s stated so directly. Again it’s not immoral or unethical but it’s dishonest with oneself and the risks almost always outweigh the benefits. That doesn’t make me a negative person or a person who gives negative advice. But this is off topic and I’m glad you noticed my consistent advice - based on common sense IMO - about not pursuing people who are not into you. Whether for friendship or romantically or for a professional opportunity.  A person who walks away is respecting the other person’s wishes. You’re lying to yourself by telling yourself you invited her for her own benefit. It’s not. You want her to want you and you hope this will help your goal.
The thoughtfulness in opening your home to her is not the real reason. And she will know that. I mean it’s obvious.  But again I’m done being attacked and criticized over something foolish.

You asked her to hang out and she said yes. So you’re not forcing yourself on her or making her uncomfortable as she said yes and is an adult. You want to believe it’s because there’s a chance. Go for it! 

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33 minutes ago, RSSR said:

We are going round in circles, and sure - as things stand, you are correct, and I am the fool. However, all the signals she was giving until a week ago were she was very much into me. Then she backed off. If you fail to see there is something there that's not quite simple, and if you take her excuse for granted - well, I simply can't agree. I acknowledge I am emotionally invested and subjective, but come on - she is a nice girl by all accounts, what's she doing coming to my home at her initiative and telling me it's more than friendship?

You’re not a fool. People move towards pleasure and away from pain. Maybe it’s like the Breakfast Club. Ally Sheedy is asked why she came to detention all day when she wasn’t one of the disciplined students “because I had nothing better to do “ or some such. Who knows why? What you do know is what she told you. She’s a nice girl who’s not romantically interested in you. It’s fine for her to come over in a group as she already told you and is not leading you on. 

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6 hours ago, RSSR said:

She proposed we remain in touch, keep going to work together, and be friends... In the meantime, I decided it was selfish and counter-productive to simply disappear from her life

No, you've got that backwards. It's selfish of her to want to be friends with you knowing you have feelings for her. She wants the trappings of a surrogate boyfriend without any of the commitment. 

6 hours ago, RSSR said:

What do you guys think I should do from here and does it even sound probable that she indeed saw it as friendship?

Nothing, honestly. Maybe she met someone else, maybe her ex has been sniffing around again, who knows. She has changed her mind and in the end, the reason isn't really important. She is telling you clearly that this will not proceed, and it's best that you put distance there and stop hanging out outside of work. You are going to get hurt if you don't. 

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7 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

Either dial it back to strictly friendship or peacefully wish her all the best, part ways and go NC (no contact). 

She has trust issues which takes a long time to recover from.  Remain patient or move on. 

I guess the question is whether there is enough for me to hang onto while being patient. If the trust issues and time are the pain problems, I can suffer through them, as I care a lot about her. 

 

But if what she said was true, despite all the signs to the contrary, and she indeed only wants friendship... not much to hope for

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3 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

No, you've got that backwards. It's selfish of her to want to be friends with you knowing you have feelings for her. She wants the trappings of a surrogate boyfriend without any of the commitment. 

Nothing, honestly. Maybe she met someone else, maybe her ex has been sniffing around again, who knows. She has changed her mind and in the end, the reason isn't really important. She is telling you clearly that this will not proceed, and it's best that you put distance there and stop hanging out outside of work. You are going to get hurt if you don't. 

I know I am being stupid and risk getting really hurt. What I am trying to ask all along is, if she indeed saw me as more than friend and was so proactive about our activities and communication, and then changed her mind... she might change it again, and in that respect what is the best course of action? Disappear or hang around in limited circumstances and without the friendly vibe of constant texting, etc.?

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